MLB Trade Rumors: Cubs Ask Yankees for Jesus Montero in Matt Garza Trade Talks

Eli GreenspanSenior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2012

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Jesus Montero #63 of the New York Yankees singles in the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Jack Curry of the YES Network is reporting via Twitter that the Cubs have asked for top catching prospect Jesus Montero, and either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos in exchange for Matt Garza. The Yankees balked at the asking price of both White Sox pitcher John Danks and now Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, but perhaps Garza is worth relinquishing Montero as he is under control for two more seasons.

Garza posted a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 31 starts for the Cubs but posted a 2.45 ERA in his final 15 starts.

Montero, 22, hit .288 in 109 games at Triple-A with 18 home runs and a .348 on-base percentage, which included a stint with the Yankees in which he hit .328 with four home runs in 61 at-bats.

Betances, who will be 24 in March, was 4-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A but has a very strong track record. Betances could start in either Double-A or Triple-A next season but is sure to rise quickly.

Banuelos, 20, went 6-7 between Double-A and Triple-A in 27 starts with a 3.75 ERA and 125 strikeouts to 71 walks. He is a lefty who is already having consistent success versus left-handed hitters.

Both prospects have high upside and you know the Yankees don't want to give up the wrong one, but neither is fully proven or major league ready. The Yankees would benefit exponentially from adding Matt Garza, but are the Yankees content going with Russell Martin in the short-term? Don't forget, Francisco Cervelli did well as Martin's backup in 2011. 

The Tigers and Blue Jays have both expressed interest in Garza, but the Cubs are requesting top prospects in return, and both the Tigers and Yankees are still monitoring the free-agent market. Pitchers Joe Saunders, Joel Piniero, Paul Maholm and Jon Garland are all still available.

The Padres are also interested and have a chance if they are willing to part with Anthony Rizzo and a top pitching prospect.

The Cubs may remain in a holding pattern on Garza until the trade deadline, allowing Garza to build up his value for a team in the midst of a playoff run.